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Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

Elephant Intern

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is seeking an intern in the Elephant Department. Under the direction of the Elephant Care Staff, along with the Elephant Supervisor and the Large Mammal Curator, elephant interns assist animal care staff in most aspects of the daily husbandry requirements for the elephants. This internship is designed to provide an opportunity to form a knowledge base as it pertains to managing elephants in an AZA accredited facility in the following areas: general knowledge, daily husbandry, nutrition, data collection and record keeping, environmental enrichment and animal wellness, behavioral observations, operant conditioning, conservation Issues, and guest interactions. 
  • Develop, work on, and present an internship project aligned with the research needs of animal care staff in the Elephant Department.  
  • Attend weekly professional development sessions.  
  • Complete learning goals on internship checklist.  
  • Participate in and complete a mid-point and final evaluation.  
  • Assist in and complete tasks as assigned, including but not limited to: 
  • Assist in diet preparation and kitchen clean-up. 
  • Clean exhibit spaces and holding areas, including 3.5 acres of outdoor habitats and a 25,000 sq ft barn. 
  • Identification and collection of browse. 
  • Assist with resource management. 
  • Preparation and distribution enrichment items. 
  • Behavioral observations. 
  • Daily cleaning and organization of tools and enrichment items. 
  • Read through department protocols and sign upon completion, acknowledging that the information contained within (safety guidelines, daily operations, elephant profiles, etc.) is understood. 
  • Interns will not have any direct contact with elephants will not participate in elephant training. Interns will be provided opportunities to observe animal care staff demonstrate proper animal interaction techniques and operant conditioning training techniques when applicable. Interns will always be accompanied by anima care staff when in an unoccupied elephant space and will not be left alone in elephant yards or holding areas.  
  • Other duties may be assigned. 
  • Must be at least 18 years old. 
  • Must follow safety guidelines and always demonstrate safe working practices. Interns are expected to immediately voice any safety concern they have no matter how minor it may seem. 
  • Must have effective time management skills for working in a fast-paced and flexible work environment.  
  • Must possess strong communication skills; Communicate frequently and in a professional manner with supervisor and team members. 
  • Must work well with others and have the ability to work independently.  
  • Must be team-oriented and willing to work with other interns, volunteers, and staff members to further not only the goals of the Department but also of the Zoo’s Mission Statement. 
  • Must attend shifts on time and as scheduled.  
  • Must have the ability to follow detailed instructions.  
  • Must complete a TB Test before beginning internship. 

Experience Required

Previous experience working with animals or at an AZA institution is preferred, but not required.

Further Comments

Interns must be currently enrolled in, or have recently graduated from, a college or university. A minimum of one year of coursework in a major field of study to be applied during the internship (e.g. biology, zoology, animal behavior, etc.) is preferred. Knowledge of elephant natural history, biology, captive husbandry, and conservation issues preferred. Must be motivated to continue expanding knowledge base as it applies to elephants. PHYSICAL DEMANDS: This position requires considerable physical exertion – such as regularly climbing stairs and ladders, climbing over barriers (up to 4’ high) to access exhibits, lifting heavy objects (70+ pounds), and/or assuming awkward positions. On average, 75% of the day involves cleaning elephant habitats and holding areas. This position also requires working in hot and humid conditions. Applicants are strongly encouraged to consider these physical requirements before applying for an internship in this area. Interns that are not able to meet the physical requirements for the position may be reassigned to another department. WORK ENVIRONMENT: Routine exposure to hot and humid conditions. Interns will be working outdoors for prolonged periods in the weather and temperature extremes common to Omaha, Nebraska. The position may involve exposure to chemical substances and physical trauma of a minor nature such as cuts, bruises and minor burns. Exposure to biting flies and mosquitos is also likely. Interns are not allowed to work in direct contact with the elephants but must be aware of and follow the safety guidelines for working in proximity to them.



How to Apply

Visit to apply.  Prospective interns can only submit ONE application per person specific to their top their choice but may indicate up to two other areas that interest them on their application.  
Must submit cover letter and resume to at the time you apply. Applications without these materials will not be considered.   
Your cover letter should include clearly defined career goals including how interning in the area you selected as your top choice will help you achieve your goals.  
Interns must provide their availability at the time of their interview. Interviews may be conducted over the phone, in person, or over Zoom. 

Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
3701 S. 10th Street
Omaha, NE 68107
Phone: 402-738-2098

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